Alloy Direct Marketing and youth marketing data provider American Student List (ASL) announced May 7 the two companies will merge, the result of a joint venture between their respective parent companies: Alloy Media + Marketing and Euro RSCG Discovery. The resulting company will be known as Alloy ASL, said Andrew Belth, president of Alloy ASL and the former SVP of Alloy Direct Marketing.
“We were two competitive entities, but now we’re one combined entity,” Belth said, adding that Alloy ASL presents “an aggregation of the best data assets [that will] bring a sensitivity to the changing digital market space. We’re bringing the best of the traditional direct marketing world and embracing opportunities in digital.”
The merger, which Belth expects will take six months to fully integrate each company’s technologies, is expected to better enable Alloy ASL clients to reach the 13-24 year-old demographic. Belth added that while Alloy Media + Marketing’s traditional strengths had been reaching this population segment (the company’s book packaging division Alloy Entertainment created the Gossip Girl YA novel series), outreach to teens and young adults is especially challenging because of constantly-changing trends. “What teens and young adults say and do are different,” Belth said.
Current barriers marketing in the teen and young adult space include “keeping pace with trends and where kids will focus attention, whether it be email marketing or social networks,” Belth said. “The other factor we’re constantly dealing with is making sure these offers are appropriate and reputable.”
However, Belth sees distinct opportunities in traditional direct marketing geared toward a younger audience. “Traditional direct marketing is unique because it is shared openly between parents and kids,” Belth said. “Also, the traditional marketing space with youth is not as cluttered as the non-traditional arena.”
Traditional direct marketing, as it relates to a younger audience, is typically defined by promotions wrapped around education and the education process, Belth explained. These include offers for leadership programs, test preparation, financial aid, scholarship opportunities and first checking accounts or credit cards. These offers, Belth said, target young people with the knowledge that their parents are gatekeepers. Many of the brands Belth has worked with are national chains that want to maximize their presence in local markets via direct marketing.
Belth, who will report to the Alloy and Euro RSCG Discovery joint venture board, conceded that some employee downsizing occurred as a result of this merger, but characterized it as “minimal.”